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Tesla Stock Lower Following Solid August China Sales Data

Tesla sold around 77,000 China-made cars last month, an industry lobby group said Thursday.

Updated at 1:46 pm EST

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report shares moved lower Thursday following data from China indicating a solid improvement in August sales and exports as production at its key Shanghai factory accelerated from its summer lull. 

Tesla sold 77,000 China-made cars last month, the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) said Thursday, a 74% increase over the same period last year.

The August figures, however, while also firmly higher than the 28,000 total recorded in July when Tesla's Shanghai gigafactory was idled for scheduled maintenance, essentially only matches the 78,000 tally from June and suggests growth rates will be challenging in the world's biggest car market as the economy slows and buyers trim spending. 

Tesla has moved to offset that weakness by reducing the time that buyers will need to wait for some of its new cars, particularly the Model Y, which is now down to less than a month.

Tesla shares were marked 2.3% lower in early afternoon trading Thursday to change hands at $269.40 each. 

Tesla posted stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings in late July and reiterated its goal for full-year delivery growth despite input price pressures and narrowing profit margins.

Tesla said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in June rose 56.5% from last year to a Street-beating, $2.27 per share, although revenues were modestly light at $16.94 billion.

Gross automotive margins were 27.9%, Tesla said, a 500 basis point decline from last year, Tesla said, just inside the Street forecast of 28.2%, owing to put a surge in input costs and expenses linked to the ramp-up of new factories in Austin and Berlin.

The group also said it expects full year deliveries to grow 50% from 2021 levels, implying a target of 1.4 million vehicles that Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said has become "more difficult but remains possible with strong execution."